That Time Matrix Resurrections Star Jonathan Groff Had To ‘Smash’ Keanu Reeves’ Face Into A Wall During An Action Sequence

Jonathan Groff in The Matrix Resurrections
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

It’s been over 20 years since The Matrix franchise kicked off and took the sci-fi genre by storm but, like many groundbreaking films, it doesn’t fit neatly into any one box. The franchise takes cues from a number of genres, though action is heavily present in the films. As a result, the movies house many epic fight scenes. Apparently, one of the stars of the upcoming The Matrix Resurrections, Jonathan Groff, takes part in a pretty intense scene with returning lea Keanu Reeves and had to “smash” the franchise vet’s face into a wall. And honestly, Groff makes it sound like a pretty magical moment. 

It seems the stunt team on set of the latest Matrix installment referred to Jonathan Groff as “The Savage,” and for good reason. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Groff spoke of the trust that is required between two actors to film an intense action sequence, saying he feels as though there are some strong emotions exchanged in scenes like the one between him and Keanu Reeves. Here is what the actor says, exactly:

Lana's like, 'If you could do an open palm and put your finger right underneath Keanu's eyeball and then smash his face into the wall, that would be great for camera.' I look at Keanu and he just gave me the nod, like, 'Go for it.' And the trust! I mean, I have to spin in a circle, slap my hand on his face, and then smash it into the thing. I feel like there's so much love and respect that is swapped in those moments.

In the same interview, the star compared filming an intense fight scene to the act of making love. Groff explains that after the sequence with his co-star was over, he felt as if he were “deeply connected to him”. 

Keanu Reeves is no stranger to fight scenes, as he is a major player in a number of action franchises. The John Wick star also performs most of his own stunts and is proficient in more than one fighting style. Acting opposite him in such a scene is most likely an ethereal learning experience, especially for someone like Jonathan Groff, who is younger and much less experienced in the action genre. Here’s what the Frozen star went on to say:

He taught me so much about the agreement of two people to hit each other but not hurt each other. It's like making love with someone. … When our fight was over, I felt deeply connected to him in a physical way.

I can’t imagine fighting opposite an icon such as Keanu Reeves in such an intimate way, let alone smash his face into a wall. I find myself both envious of Jonathan Groff and content that I haven't ever been put in such a nerve-racking position. 

The Matrix Resurrections is set to arrive in theaters and on HBO Max on December 22nd, and fans of the franchise can expect some gripping R-rated action, which makes a ton of sense considering how violent the film sounds. And if you need to prep yourself or want to relive some of the series' best moments, you can check out the first three films, which are available on the streamer now.

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.